How to kill lice scabies and bed mites in the home

Written by elissa zubrick
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How to kill lice scabies and bed mites in the home
Bed bugs, dust mites, lice and scabbies can hide in many different areas of the home. (Youthful living room interior image by Paul Hill from

Head lice, bed bugs, scabies and dust mites attack their host in different ways, yet they can all be eradicated from a home in similar ways. Once a home is infested with one of these pests it takes two or more weeks to kill them. It is also important to make sure that the host which introduced them to the home is properly treated, or not invited back in to the home to reintroduce them.

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Things you need

  • Plastic mattress covers
  • Plastic pillow covers
  • Steam cleaner
  • Household dryer
  • Blow dryer
  • Disinfectant cleaner

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  1. 1

    Cover all mattresses and pillows with plastic, zippered covers. This prevents any of these pests from nesting in mattresses and pillows. You can then put sheets and pillowcases on top of the plastic covers.

    How to kill lice scabies and bed mites in the home
    Place a plastic cover on the mattress to keep pests from getting in. (bed image by Leonid Nyshko from
  2. 2

    Remove sheets, pillowcases, blankets, and towels promptly after getting out of bed and place them in the dryer for 30 minutes on high. The heat kills any bugs that are in the bedding or towels. It is also necessary to do this with any clothing or wash clothes that have come in contact with an infected person or area.

    Note: Do not place these items on the floor, place them directly into the dryer. If you use a laundry basket to take them to the dryer, the laundry basket should we wiped out with disinfectant immediately. Repeat this after each use of the bedding by the infected party or anytime bedding comes in contact with infected items.

    How to kill lice scabies and bed mites in the home
    The heat from the dryer will kill the bugs. (laundry dial image by Sirena Designs from
  3. 3

    Clean couches and other fabric covered furniture with a steam cleaner. Steam cleaners can either be purchased, or can often be rented at local grocery and hardware stores. It is important to make sure that an actual steam cleaner is used, as, it is the steam that kills the bugs. This step needs to be completed each time that the furniture is exposed to the infected party or to infected items.

    How to kill lice scabies and bed mites in the home
    Clean your unholstered furniture with a steam cleaner (chair image by Olena Talberg from
  4. 4

    Clean floors, bathtubs, counters and non-upholstered furniture with a disinfectant cleaner. Spray the disinfectant on the surface wipe it around and then let it air dry to kill and bugs that may be lingering on the surface. This should also be done with any laundry baskets or other containers that infested items have been in as well. Repeat this step daily for two weeks if the infected party is a member of the household.

    How to kill lice scabies and bed mites in the home
    Use a disinfectant spray to clean all non-fabric surfaces. (cleaning products image by AGITA LEIMANE from
  5. 5

    Use a blow dryer to heat and kill the bugs that could be in your shoes, hats or scarves. Put the blow dryer on high and heat the item for 15 to 20 minutes. Repeat each day for two weeks for the infected party.

    How to kill lice scabies and bed mites in the home
    Use a blow dryer on high for 15-20 minutes to kill bugs in shoes and other non-washable items. (dryers image by timur1970 from
  6. 6

    Bag any other items, such as, stuffed animals, toys, or non-washable items in plastic garbage bags. Seal the bags and put them somewhere, where they will be out of the way. Allow the items to stay in the plastic bags for two weeks to make sure all bugs are dead. After the two weeks the items can be put away.

    How to kill lice scabies and bed mites in the home
    Bag non-washable items in a plastic bag and leave sealed for 2 weeks. (Garbage bag image by Mykola Velychko from

Tips and warnings

  • None of these steps will work if the host party is not also treated or prevented from entering the home.

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